Parking Giant LAZ Plans Screening Program to Take Worker Temperatures, Avoid Lobby Crowds
It’s something landlords and tenants alike are trying to figure out: how to screen workers for the coronavirus as economies restart and offices begin filling up again.
Alan Lazowski thinks the solution isn’t in the lobby. Its outside, in the parking garage.
“The safest place to be is in the shelter of your home,” Lazowski, CEO of LAZ Parking, told CoStar. “The second-safest place is in your own personal vehicle.”
LAZ is the second-largest owner and operator of parking facilities in the country, with more than 3,300 properties in 35 states and over 2.3 million parking spaces. The Hartford, Connecticut-based firm operates parking facilities at every stripe of property: offices, stadiums, airports, municipal buildings and hospitals.
Starting June 1, LAZ plans to embark on a pilot program where its parking attendants will screen office workers at its headquarters at 1 Financial Plaza in downtown Hartford, which LAZ partially owns. That 26-story, 621,000-square-foot tower, known as the Gold Building, will be the first location to test whether tenants and landlords will cotton to the idea of in-car screening.
Under the new LAZ PreScreen program, LAZ attendants, in personal protective gear including masks and gloves, will ask workers the typical coronavirus screening questions: Have you had close contact with anyone who’s test positive? Do you have any new symptoms, including congestion or a cough?
The attendants will also take workers’ temperatures, a practice that has raised some legal questions. Down the line, if testing becomes quicker and more ubiquitous, the screeners could also test workers for the coronavirus if need be. Once cleared, the workers will get a code on their phone that will allow them to enter the building and their offices.
The idea is that garages and parking lots can efficiently offer what landlords are contemplating. And by screening at workers’ cars, LAZ’s program would help prevent crowds in lobbies, which is exactly the sort of thing health officials are warning against.
“Until there’s a cure or a vaccine, so much of this is going to be about screening and testing,” said Lazowski. “We want people to arrive with peace of mind.”
LAZ has been working with drugstore chain CVS and pharmaceutical giant Abbott to erect pop-up testing sites at hospital parking lots and elsewhere to test mostly first responders and healthcare workers.
For the PreScreen program, LAZ hired USHealthyWork, an advisory firm started by former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Should the pilot in Hartford work out, LAZ plans to extend the program next month to buildings in five other states owned by Shelbourne of Brooklyn, New York, its partner in the Gold Building. And LAZ is looking for other customers.
The parking industry is a huge but often-overlooked sector of commercial real estate — and it’s been devastated by the coronavirus shutdown.
Lazowski said LAZ has furloughed 7,000 workers in past two months, about half its workforce. The National Parking Association, an industry group, estimates more than half of the 580,000 employees directly working in parking have lost their jobs. Revenues are down in some cases as much as 90%.
Read the original article posted on CoStar News here >>